Wearing the correct kit for sports such as Cricket or Rugby is simple. For runners, it's much more complex. There is no designated uniform!
When I was growing up, Ian, my first coach, told me that: ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices!’. So, with that in mind, I’m here to tell you that it is really important to make sure you are wearing the clothing that the weather conditions demand, especially at the time of year when the weather tends to appear better than it actually is. I talk a lot to my athletes about marginal gains and getting the most out of their training plans. The concept of marginal gains is making sure that you do the small things right, and by doing so, big rewards come.
WHAT KIT TO WEAR FOR RUNNING
What kit to wear during training sessions is one area you can exploit to get the most out of your sessions. Think easy marginal gains. Currently (early March in the UK), the warmest it’s getting during the day is roughly around 10 degrees. However, whilst this might be the air temperature, it tends to feel colder due to low sunlight and wind chill.
So when you’re doing quality workouts, recovery runs and long runs, it is imperative to wrap up warm! Firstly, when it comes to quality workouts, runners are instructed to do a low-level cardiac warm up. Here, the clue for what clothing to wear comes in the term ‘warm up’.
By warming up for sessions in shorts and t-shirts, you’re simply not getting the most out of your sessions. When exercising at high intensity, the optimal temperature for your muscles is 37.5 degrees, which is a constant. So when the outside temperature is only 10 degrees, there’s a 27.5-degree differential. Of course, we all know how warm 27 degrees feels, and by wearing shorts and not wrapping up, you create this disparity!
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO KEEP WARM DURING RUNS?
When your skin gets cold, your blood moves away from the surface of your skin to stay warm. This reduces your ability to pump blood around the body, which reduces your capacity for maximal exercise. Meaning that it’s either harder to work at your desired intensity, or the same work rate will elicit a lower intensity. By wearing extra clothing (or kitting yourself out in SKINS), you increase the skin’s temperature and let your blood run more freely around the body. In turn, this allows more oxygen to get to the muscles and improves performance for the session.
During your session, it’s also a good idea to try and keep blood flow as high as possible. This will enable the muscle to function at a higher capacity and help remove waste products from the muscles. SKINS compression garments are specifically engineered to regulate your body temperature and increase blood flow.
In addition, increasing blood flow by wearing extra clothing and keeping your SKINS on in your warm downs, especially on your legs, will remove more waste products from your muscles and improve your recovery from sessions. This is the same when it comes to your easy runs, and your recovery runs too. By keeping your muscles warm, you can ensure that your body is in a better state for the next session you have on your schedule.
In terms of best practice, I recommend keeping your legs covered when warming up for races, sessions, parkruns, etc. I’d also recommend that you keep your legs covered for your easy jogs, any time you spend doing drills before the session and your strides before the session.
During your intervals sessions, you should either wear Long Tights or Half Tights. It’s tough to strike a balance between your thermal comfort needs and what feels fast to wear, but I would recommend keeping your legs as warm as possible! Similarly, I would recommend wearing jumpers, 1/4 zips or jackets on the top half. If you’re trying to stay as aero as possible, then take a look at SKINS Thermal Long Sleeve tops.
Remember – by wrapping up warmer; you will get more out of your sessions, race with higher quality, and recover better too.
SKINS SERIES-3 is designed by runners for runners and has everything you need to help with those marginal gains Coach Joshua talks about. The range focuses on medium-high gradient compression garments to regulate your body temp and increase your blood flow. It also includes thermal compression if you’re running in really cold temperatures, and it’s also where you’ll find our activewear (to make sure you’re completely kitted out).